I want to look at the pros and cons from several points of view. Why do we call it “outlaw” ball or renegade paintball? We don’t call tossing the pigskin around the back yard outlaw football. People can get hurt just as easy tackling without pads as playing paintball without proper protection.
Paintball stores benefit the most from outlaw players. A huge percentage of sales are from players that have never been to a paintball field. The most important job of the professional paintball shop is to educate. Making sure all the players have proper safety gear and how to use it, is key. That will not only increase your repore with the customers but also show you are professional. Make sure you pay special attention to the parents. They will ask most of the questions and understand the answers.
I can’t think of any real cons for a paintball store. If you provide great service and prices to these players they will return. They don’t usually play as much as tournament players but paintball isn’t about one group or another. They do tend to buy less paint though, it being more of a social event than a real game. Make sure you cater smaller quantities of paint to these players and they will love it.
From a field owners perspective it can be a little harder to swallow, but it’s not all bad. As a field you need to offer them something they would not want to build on their own. Most players will not sit and write a scenario for their buddies or build a house for CQB combat. These are things that they like to play but lack the time or energy to create. Even if they are not playing every weekend , most players do enjoy going to play at a “real” structured paintball field. Just like the store owner you must educate players at the field. It is much easier to do because you are more hands on with actual game play. They need to see how calls are made and what is not acceptable. You can’t always get the horse to drink, though. They will often do as they please when they leave. I, however, can sleep better knowing I did what I could.
It can bite you in the rear at the field also. Maybe they just want to see what you have on the field so they can copy it. Most outlaw players also complain about the costs of playing at a field. Not all of them understand it’s a business. Of course I charge a field fee because land isn’t free. And paint cost a little more because we have to pay staff. There are several costs to running a field they just don’t understand.
Players in the “back yard league” can play whenever they want. That is a huge bonus for the busy live most of us parents lead. Their friends can come over, borrow a marker and play. This is the best scenario for the sport as a whole. More people picking up a maker and trying the sport. Not every person was born to be a tournament paintball player. They shoot less paint and, most times, don’t have to travel to play. This makes the sport cheaper for the actual recreational player. You can also not worry about being “thrown to the wolves” by being mixed in with better players. A lot of kids play at a field for the first time and get shot up by frequent players. This spoils the fun of the sport from them and many of them don’t want to play again. Being with only people they know can cater more to their speed of play.